The logo for Netflix's House of Cards shows an upside-down & mirrored American Flag with 0 stars on it.

What does this logo represent in terms of the show?

Is it meant to be symbolism with the themes of the show, or just simple dramatic flair?

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  • 1
    10-to-1 one of the graphics designers was a: Slayer | Black Crowes | ZZ Top | Danzig | Tom Petty | Johnny Cash | System of a Down fan. All being on American Records at one point or another; the upside down flag being the record label's logo, and on the back of millions of their CDs since 1988. In that sense "counter culture" - but yeah, for House of Cards, probably just distress...
    – ipso
    Nov 28, 2013 at 22:53
  • 1
    No stars = divided States. The States aren't united
    – user8774
    Mar 26, 2014 at 20:08

7 Answers 7


A flag being flown upside down is a symbol for distress. As far as the no stars I'm looking into that.

  • 6
    Ever figure out what the no stars might represent?
    – Tablemaker
    May 14, 2013 at 12:49
  • 1
    @TylerShads Might just be a mere stylization (but might also be something more).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Nov 17, 2013 at 1:11
  • Fun fact: This was also explained by Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory episode S03E22. Mar 26, 2016 at 16:21

While Kevin Howell is quite spot-on in his explanation of the upside down flag representing distress, I think especially his link to the Flag Code gives another, maybe even better fitting explanation. The country itself is objectively seen not in distress during the course of the show. So while the upside down flag could represent some kind of metaphorical distress in the way that the government and the political system are depicted, what may better fit here is the other, albeit invalid, reason for an upside-down flag, disrespect.

By showing the flag upside-down without an imminent presence of "dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property" it shows disrespect to the flag and the political ideals (and ultimately the country and its people) it stands for. Of course, I'm neither saying the show or its makers are disrespecting the U.S. flag nor am I making any personal judgement about such behaviour, just that the characters and the way politics are shown have lost the ideals that flag was once supposed to represent. This disrespect is shown by the political schemes and plots that (not only, but most prominently) Frank Underwood plays with the governmental forces (and ultimately the country) in order to feed his own lust for power. The show depicts a political system and moral that have been (in/per)verted upside-down in the same way as the flag that represents them.

The missing stars could either be just some kind of stylization, but could as well refer to something deeper. One might interpret that into the same disrespect symbolization as the upside-down part, but could maybe also come up with something based on the fact that the stars represent the states. Maybe this way it shows that the show isn't about actual politics with any significance to the whole country, but about a man not interested into anything outside of Washington D.C. and misusing the country's fate only as a device for his own goals.


I wonder if the lack of stars symbolizes the power of the federal government over constituent states.


No stars may mean that there is no democracy here - no votes are ever cast by states for Underwood (excepting a small portion of South Carolina).

I think the graphic was also meant to draw attention to the show in general. It certainly makes one curious.

  • Do you have a citation for that?
    – DA.
    May 31, 2015 at 20:09

No stars = likely simply a graphic design aesthetic choice. A logo doesn't have to be a literal representation. It's clearly the american flag, even without the stars, and the stars would simply be too small to render well on a lot of screens.


I believe it also stands for a "false flag event." Something fake used to bring about war for gaining political, monetary and a general increase in over all power.


Umm... it represents the fact that you can't legally use the American flag as part a TV show's logo-lockup. So, the art director had to alter the flag enough so that it doesn't technically look like the US flag.

...And then he/she decided to turn it upside down because they realized reading the flag code that it meant distress, and figured it would be a great conversation piece for fans of the show to read into it.

  • 1
    Any proof for this claim or is it pure speculation?
    – Ankit Sharma
    Mar 23, 2015 at 6:54
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    i work in advertising and have dealt with flag issues before. paragraph "G" from the U.S. Flag code in the below link is the restricting limitation: law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/4/8 paragraph "G" applies because the proximity and placement of the flag in relation to the wordmark "House of Cards" depicts is usage as being part of the logo-lockup and so is restricted. it's the same reason why companies like "bank of america" have an ammended version of the flag that does not actually resemble the flag to full likeness.
    – kevin
    Mar 23, 2015 at 14:25
  • 1
    that makes more sense. Better to incorporate it in answer.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Mar 23, 2015 at 17:26
  • The reason Bank of America has a logo that's not literally the flag is because it's a corporation that needs a custom logo. Lots of companies incorporate the flag into their own logo, though. I'm not sure this answer is correct. Simple example of another TV show using the flag pretty much as-is as part of a logo: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:American_Dad_Logo.svg
    – DA.
    May 31, 2015 at 20:13

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